Minor Spoilers for the “Luke Cage” Netflix series ahead. If you haven’t watched the series and plan to, come back after you have watched it. There you go, a fair warning added.
This is Luke Cage. This costume makes an appearance in the Luke Cage Netflix show. In 2016. While the method by which Mr. Carl Lucas stumbles across said outfit is a little hokey (why does he leave on the silver tiara but remove the rest of the helmet?), comic book fans are treated to a live-action version of this classic 70’s outfit in the new series.
This outfit holds a lot of history. It was Luke Cage’s first super uniform. It is the outfit he used when forming the Heroes for Hire, and it’s a funky relic from a long past. But, as with most old things, we must abandon them completely (sorry, mom) and look to the future. The Luke Cage show provides us with a new costume for Luke. One that holds a lot of significance in today’s day and age.
A bullet-riddled hoodie.
With Trayvon Martin as the inspiration for this incarnation of the Cage uniform, the show turns a very depressing, graphic image into a folk hero costume. A costume that represents unity and strength in a time when we, as humans, can use both. In the show, Luke becomes a Harlem hero. A man who survives an onslaught of bullets from every conceivable direction, only to come out unscathed and, more importantly, unwavering in his quest for good.
“I can’t imagine anything a black man would want to be more right now than bulletproof,” actor Mike Colter, who plays Cage, AKA Power Man, told the news website. “When you’re a black man in a hoodie all of a sudden you’re a criminal.” – Via NY Daily News
Hero of Harlem
Because Cage has steel-tough skin, Luke wears his battle scars on his clothing. The various hoodies he wears to conceal his identity and ultimately discards due to superhero wear and tear become a powerful symbol. A symbol that the people of Harlem adopt. Late in the season (Ep 12, to be exact), we are treated to a vignette of Harlemites purchasing replica Cage hoodies, men being stopped by cops who believe they are Luke Cage (due to the bullet holes in their sweaters), and people uniting under the bullet hoodie banner. This is a statement on the current climate of unarmed black males being killed by cops. It is also a very powerful direction to take Luke Cage in.
Power Man to the People
As we discussed on a recent episode of Super. Black., Luke Cage has had a very defined wardrobe progression that mimics the decade they were introduced in. It is only fitting that his newest outfit reflects the times. There is no more powerful costume than one with meaning. Batman’s cape and cowl represent Bruce’s fear and resolve to impart that fear to his enemies. Kamala Khan’s makeshift Ms. Marvel costume symbolizes her choice to be a hero and her determination to be as good as her idol is. The bullet hoodie is that type of symbol. One represents the idea that you can’t solve all your problems by blowing them away. It is something that can not only bring awareness to a very real problem but can also make for a unique and interesting visual brand for Luke Cage moving forward. A bulletproof black man who is unafraid and always willing to help those in need.
And who is sponsored by Carhartt?